Dear Neil: I’m 54, and I find one of the biggest challenges is getting the attention of an available man my age. The majority of men over 40 are looking, not for women their own age, but for women 5 to 20 years younger. In addition, a man can be single without it necessarily meaning that he is available to women. He could be in a long-term relationship; he could be gay, or have no interest in a committed relationship. Surely we all know that older women get fewer available men.
Lonely In Portland
Dear Lonely: If you want a committed relationship and are willing to be proactive about finding a man, there’s still hope for you to find the relationship you desire.
The way to make it happen is by refusing to give up; by keeping yourself focused on your goal, and going after that goal with gusto. But you must figure out a better way of meeting men. Try this: Create three different lists titled “What’s Fun,” “Things That Nurture and Nourish Me Emotionally” and “New Things I’d Like To Experience Or Try.” Be expansive, and write down as many answers as you can. Then go back and mark all those activities that are likely to have clubs, interest groups, professional organizations, seminars or classes.
If, for example, you say tennis is fun, movies nurture you and nature photography is something you would like to try, the question then becomes which groups, organizations or classes are offered in your community in those activities. Might there be clinics offered in tennis and/or photography? Maybe there is group or a class where people go to movies together and then talk about the film afterwards.
Any activity you would like to do that involves people is a prime place to meet new people. Talking, creating friendships and connecting are easier in such groups because you have at least some ready-made common interests. And doing things with others helps people bond and feel closer to each other.
Then it’s all a question of learning how to initiate contact and deepening your connection with the men you would like to get to know better.
Places where men hang out are ideal for you to consider. Where do men hang out? You might try athletic activities such as hiking, biking, running and coed volleyball. Or you could visit fan club meetings of your local sports teams, such as the basketball, football, hockey or soccer teams.
Do you belong to a profession? If so, how about professional organizations, workshops or local conventions? You could also try your local chess club (even if you’re a first time beginner), which is virtually guaranteed to be heavily male in attendance. Other places to meet men you might try include dating services, health clubs, singles groups and adult education classes.
Go after what you want, and don’t let disappointments or rejections defeat you.